Street gangs have grown from a handful of bad kids to well organized groups with members that can be found across the states. They pride themselves on deviant behavior and illegal actions. Gangs employ young children to handle some of their illegal business.
Children are used because they are often unsuspected and if they are caught, they cannot face jail time if they are younger than thirteen years of age. Law abiding members of society are afraid to approach gangs because they are dangerous. Nobody takes action against the gangs until it is too late and something terrible happens.
Gangs today operate well beyond their local jurisdiction. Their activities include illegal drug sales, weapon distribution, gambling, high risk theft, and other high risk crimes. They are well organized and quick on their toes.
Gangs were once based in poor neighborhoods but now they know no boundaries. You will know if there is gang activity in your area when you see their logos tagged in graffiti on buildings. If you see this going on in your neighborhood, get the police involved immediately. Another sign that there are gangs in your neighborhood is an increase in crime.
Children join gangs because they are not getting the attention they need at home or at school. They also join gangs to protect them from school bullies. A gang is a welcoming place for a child that feels neglected. They provide strong bonds and protection for the child. How does a parent know if their child is involved in a gang? Given below are some signs to look for.
Your once pleasant child is now exhibiting delinquent behavior. His personality has changed and he may become aloof, volatile or moody. He can be involved in activities that will get him in trouble with the law. The gang lifestyle will be exhibited in the choice of colored clothing that he wears, or by graffiti tags that are scribbled on his notebooks and bedroom walls.
You may find crude tattoos on your child’s body that represent the gang’s logo. Your child will have a new group of friends that you are not allowed to meet. Your child may act withdrawn around family and old friends.
The new life will cause him to be secretive. A child in a gang will abide by a new set of rules. He may not answer to his birth name and instead take on a nickname.
Some of these actions may just be the result of your child developing into a teenager. If you suspect that your child is in a gang it is time to sit down with him for a serious discussion to stay away from gang related activity.